For those of you who don't know, I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder a couple of years ago. Since then I've seen a therapist and psychiatrist to help understand and alleviate the symptoms, and through trial and error, I've found what works for me when I'm having a panic attack or wake up feeling anxious or depressed.
While the information on what these disorders are is so easily accessible, understanding how to deal with them effectively is harder to find. That's where my pamper routine comes in.
NB: I am not a medical professional. Seek the help of a qualified therapist or psychiatrist before taking my advice.
Chances are you've been crying, and even though hydrating probably isn't at the top of your list during a panic attack, it is very important.
You've lost a lot of liquid, which means you'll probably have a headache within the next 30 minutes if you don't replenish your body with water. It doesn't have to be straight water; a cup of green tea will also do the trick. As long as you're increasing your water intake, that's all that matters.
I've learned that taking a hot shower or bath makes me feel five times better when I'm feeling down, even if it takes me a while to make it from my bed to the bathroom. Washing your body, however, might feel like it requires a lot more effort than usual, so stick to the three main components: face, armpits and ass.
You'll come out of the shower in five minutes, and feel cleaner for it.
#3: BRUSH YOUR TEETH
Again, so much effort, but it's worth it. If I feel I've already done too much to handle, I'll just use mouthwash and call it a day. A minty breath, no matter how it's achieved, can go a long way.
#4: CLEAN CLOTHES
This goes hand-in-hand with cleanliness, as fresh clothes make you feel less gross. They don't have to be pyjamas necessarily; a big t-shirt and fresh underwear work just as well, and if you don't have any clean clothes, go naked.
#5: CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
When I'm anxious I tend to stay in bed, and that in turn makes me more anxious because I'm blocking out the rest of the world and unknowingly making myself feel more isolated and alone. That's why switching up your environment is very important, even if this means making the move from your bed to the guest room or lounge.
As long as you aren't cooped up in your room with the curtains drawn, you've made progress.
What a f*cking cliche, but it helps. Mindful breathing can help slow down your thoughts and regulate your breathing, helping to put things into perspective.
Usually I do five full breaths, holding each breath for three seconds before breathing out. If you're struggling to fall asleep, this helps too, along with the grounding method.
Everyone says it, but you're going to be okay. Mental illness is such a taboo subject for absolutely no reason, because so many people struggle to cope with it. I've been lucky enough to flourish in an environment that encourages recovery, but I know not everyone is that fortunate, so consider my inbox a safe space to express your feelings and I will offer help where I can.